Frequently Asked Questions
What is this film about?
The Other Side of Immigration is 55-minute documentary based on interviews with men and women in the Mexican countryside. The film explores why so many people leave small Mexican towns to work in the United States and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind. By understanding “the other side” of the story, we’ll begin to think about new and more creative ways that the U.S. and Mexican governments can work together to develop new solutions. The film is based on the director’s Ph.D. research in Mexico.
Who made this film?
Professor Roy Germano made The Other Side of Immigration while doing research in rural Mexico. He currently teaches in the International Relations Program at New York University. He is the author of Outsourcing Welfare: How the Money Immigrants Send Home Contributes to Stability in Developing Countries (published in 2018 by Oxford University Press). His research has also appeared in numerous scholarly journals and law reviews. His other documentaries include A Mexican Sound and the Vice News series Immigrant America. He's been a contributor to CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Fox News, Telemundo, Univison, WNYC, and others.
How can I see The Other Side of Immigration?
Is this a film best suited for Democrats or Republicans? Liberals or Conservatives?
This is a film for everyone. The goal of this film is to provide a highly-researched, nonpartisan account of the causes and impacts of Mexican immigration from a perspective rarely covered in the mainstream media. In contrast to many films on immigration, The Other Side of Immigration avoids ideological arguments and instead relies on the director’s doctoral research to convey it’s subtle and thought-provoking message. There is no narrator telling you what to believe in The Other Side of Immigration, nor are there “bad guys,” “good guys,” or “victims.”
Who funded this film?
The Other Side of Immigration is an independent film in the truest sense. It was made without influence or funding from studios, corporations, interest groups, foundations, or any other institution. 95% of production was funded exclusively by director Roy Germano on a modest budget. Finishing funds were donated toward the end of production by musician Conor Oberst. Mr. Oberst’s independent record label, Team Love Records, is distributing the film.
Has it won any awards? Screened at any festivals?
Yes. The Other Side of Immigration was named a Notable Video by the American Library Association. Politics on Film, a Washington DC film festival sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center, named The Other Side of Immigration “most original presentation of a current political issue.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Immigrant Affairs named the film an official event partner for its 2010 Immigrant Heritage Week. The Other Side of Immigration has been an official selection at over a dozen film festivals and screened at more than 100 universities, conferences, and community events.
What language is it in?
Most of the interviews are in Spanish (with English subtitles). A small share of interviews were conducted in English.
How do I host a public screening in my community?
Purchase public screening rights (also known as Public Performance Rights) exclusively on our online store.
How do I invite the director to present and discuss the film at my university, conference, or event?
Roy Germano is available on a limited basis for talks and screenings. Send us an email with your request to learn about rates and availability.
Why should I buy the DVD as opposed to watching the film online?
The DVD contains special features not contained on the digital download:14 minutes of extra interviews and deleted scenes. Full director commentary. The option to watch the film with both Spanish and English subtitles on at the same time. A beautiful cover design by artist John Passafiume (in eco-friendly case).
Are interviews that were conducted in English subtitled in Spanish?
On the DVD, you can choose the option to watch the film with both English and Spanish subtitles on at the same time. The digital download of the film only contains English subtitles.
Who appears in the film?
Men and women from little towns in Mexico whom Roy Germano met somewhat randomly while conducting research for his Ph.D. in political science. Germano interviewed many types of people: small farmers, return migrants, small business owners, fathers and mothers, community leaders, and local politicians. Germano wanted to keep the focus on the everyday people who live and struggle with this phenomenon--the real immigration experts.
Who did the soundtrack?
We feel very fortunate to have been able to include music by My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst, and Bright Eyes. They, their managers, record labels, and publishing houses were behind this project from the beginning, and we thank them for donating their work to this project. The classical piece that plays throughout the film is an old Mexican waltz called “Alejandra,” performed by el Cuarteto Latinoamericano.
What topics are covered in the film?
The film is divided into 6 sections that aim to provide viewers a wide-ranging perspective on the causes and effects of immigration in Mexico. The first section examines social pressures in rural Mexico that perpetuate migration to the US. The second section examines economic pressures and the role that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has played in stimulating migration to the US. The third section explores relationships between migration and Mexican politics. The fourth section discusses the impact of the billions of dollars Mexican immigrants send home to the families every year. The fifth section looks at the hardships families endure when their loved ones leave to work in the US. The final section presents interviewees’ ideas about new ways that the Mexican and US governments could cooperate to more successfully manage immigration issues. The Other Side of Immigration is therefore just as much a film about social norms, global markets, agricultural policy, well-intentioned political goals, corruption, brotherhood, children, families, income multipliers, difficult tradeoffs, and outside-the-box thinking as it is a film about immigration.
Would this film be good to show in class?
Yes. The director holds a Ph.D. in political science and made this film while conducting his field research. This film is a great teaching tool for courses in all kinds of fields: Education (particularly bilingual education), Social Work, Law, Sociology, Political Science, Latin American Studies, Mexican/Mexican-American Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Business, Economics, Psychology, Spanish Language and Literature, International Affairs, Public Policy, Medicine/Public Health, and more.
Why is the DVD licensed for college/university use so expensive?
Essentially you are paying for the rights to show the film to a large group rather than paying to watch the film in your home. This price difference is standard.
How do I purchase an educational copy?
Educational DVDs and digital streaming rights are sold exclusively on our online store. They are generally purchased by university libraries and academic departments. Please contact your librarian today requesting that they purchase a copy. Your librarian or administrator can send us an email or call (804) 620-7299 for more information.